Infrastructure Update: March 14, 2019

Infrastructure Update | March 14, 2019
Authors: Sunita Kapoor and Jack Myint
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
March 18-22: 2019 Post-ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting Roadshow: The inaugural Post ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting (ATM) Roadshow will take place Monday-Friday, 18-22 March 2019 in Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam. This one week event offers members an opportunity to engage key public and private sector stakeholders which make up the infrastructure ecosystem of the three countries. The primary objective of this roadshow will be to demonstrate how the capabilities and experiences of U.S. companies can be utilized as solutions to current challenges across the full transport infrastructure value chain. Tickets for general participation is still available. Please contact Sunita Kapoor at skapoor@usasean.org with any questions.
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Singapore Approves Land Tranport Master Plan 2040

On March 7, Singapore Acting Minister for Transport Vivian Balakrishnan announced that the Government has accepted the recommendations of the Land Transport Master Plan 2040 advisory panel for a more inclusive, well-connected, and fast transport system. The Land Transport Master Plan 2040 aims to tackle three key areas: 1) keeping all commutes to neighborhood centers to under 20 minutes and peak-period commutes to under 45 minutes 2) inclusive transportation for all and 3) safer and healthier commuter options.

The first recommendation of reducing commute time across the board would save the average Singaporean commuter 15 minutes each working day. In order to achieve this, the panel has suggested improving the public transportation system by improving bus and rail speeds, reducing the number of transfers or integrating multi-modal journeys, such as shared paths, through the use of modern technology, and creating more job opportunities and living conditions outside of the city center.

The second recommendation of promoting inclusivity in transportation by allotting the tools for and training and educating public transport workers on identifying those with different needs such as wheelchairs and baby pram users. It is expected that by 2020, all buses in Singapore will have wheelchair access.

The third recommendation of promoting healthier and safer commuter options is for the Government to allocate more space for community use and connecting pedestrians and cyclists to public transport, which will encourage more active mobility among Singapore’s populace. For a cleaner and safer quality of life, the government will also adopt energy-efficient fuel sources for its public vehicles. In addition, ride sharing mechanisms could also be considered as part of the plan to promote cleaner vehicle emissions.

Sino-Thai Railway Contract Delayed over Terms of Contract

On Monday, March 4, Thailand’s Transport Minister, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, announced a delay in signing one of 14 contracts covering the Sino-Thai high-speed railway. According to Minister Arkhom, Thai and Chinese officials met in Beijing from February 27 to March 1 to deliberate the contract but were unable to reach a consensus on some of the terms. In particular, Thai and Chinese officials disagreed on the value of the contract. Though fees have already been augmented from 38 billion THB ($1.2 billion USD) to 45 billion THB ($1.4 billion USD), Chinese officials are negotiating a higher asking price. During the meeting, Thai and Chinese officials also failed to agree upon a suitable warranty period. While Thailand has been pushing for a two-year guarantee, China is only willing to offer one year and has demanded additional fees to extend the contract another year. The Minister indicated that he expects the contract to be finalized sometime in April.

The Sino-Thai high-speed railway aims to connect Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand’s northeast Isan region. The contract currently under review, which has been referred to as “Contract 2.3,” covers roughly 250 kms of rail and contains details concerning the railway’s electricity system, procurement of train components, and training. Minister Arkhom indicated that Thailand intends to request a 38.2 billion THB loan ($1.2 billion USD) with a 3% interest rate if China agrees to value the contract at 45 billion THB ($1.2 billion USD).

Beyond the Sino-Thai railway project, Minister Arkhom stated that Thai authorities are hoping to attract private investment in a separate high-speed railway project from Bangkok to Hua Hin in Thailand’s upper south. Thai authorities are looking to attract 77 billion THB ($2.4 billion USD) to finance the project under a Public-Private Partnership agreement and aim to inaugurate rail service by 2027. Additionally, bidding on high-speed rail connections from three of Thailand’s airports—Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, and U-Tapao—are currently being conducted.

The Ministry of Transportation’s willingness to seek a diversity of investors signals Thailand’s efforts to strike a balance in its relations, particularly at a time when China, Japan, and the United States are offering competing infrastructure development models. The open investment environment is reassuring and may help dispel concerns emanating from the international community that Thailand has pursued closer ties to Beijing in lieu of others in the region. The Ministry’s insistence on a two-year guarantee and negotiation of lower fees further indicates that while Thailand has the bargaining clout to secure low-cost, high-quality infrastructure, it is conscious of avoiding restrictive contract terms that would require Thailand to commit extensive financial resources to China.
 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

The Council is conducting its inaugural 2019 Post-ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting Roadshow to Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam from March 18-22, 2019. This roadshow will be led by Ambassador Michael Michalak, Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director of the Council, and will include senior representatives from 3M, Autodesk, Bechtel, Caterpillar, FedEx, and Honeywell. These companies will speak on their best practices and experience in addressing current challenges across the full transport infrastructure value chain. We are also expecting around 100-120 government officials from the various ministries, agencies, and state owned enterprises to be in attendance to learn more about these solutions which could help enhance their ability to meet key infrastructure goals. More details on the sessions are outlined below:

Session 1: Addressing Challenges in Infrastructure Challenges in Infrastructure Financing & Bankability of Projects

There is a tremendous need for infrastructure investment in ASEAN. Given the current spending by ASEAN governments, it is clear that the infrastructure investment gap is large and resources need to be found if the gap is to be filled and future demand is to be met. The Council recognizes that governments alone cannot deliver the enormous financial resources needed, and that the engagement of multilateral development banks, and financiers such as private equity and pension funds is necessary. In order to attract these investors, the “bankability” of the infrastructure projects need to be improved. Projects need to be structured to encourage private sector participation and also to achieve outcomes so they are completed on time and within budget, are of high quality to ensure safety and longevity, and to meet environmental considerations. However, there are various constraints within the overall ecosystem for infrastructure project development and execution that may prevent these outcomes and the participation of highly qualified companies. This session will review several areas where we see opportunities for ASEAN governments to attract private sector investment, participation, and achieve high quality results.

Session 2: Safety by Design

Safety is a critical component of infrastructure projects. Too many people are killed and injured in the construction industry each year, despite the best efforts of all parties concerned. While many are utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) for efficiency gains and improved profit margins, perhaps fewer are considering health and safety. Construction is one of the most dangerous and hazardous, and, despite the rate of injuries over the last 20 years being significantly reduced, construction remains a high-risk industry in which to work. Improving safety in infrastructure projects can help save lives, sustain positive GDP growth, and enhance “bankability” of infrastructure projects in the eyes of financiers such as multilateral development banks, private equity and pension funds.

This session will review the global, regional, and local best practices that can be incorporated into infrastructure design from the very beginning of the design process to elevate safety. Going digital via integrating Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools is the first and most critical step in creating a design, build and operate ecosystem for infrastructure that eliminates paper (change orders), and reduces waste (supply chain excellence), and vastly eliminates detrimental safety incidences. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality allow for “Seeing Before Building” to eliminate mistakes, and delivers projects under budget, as promised and faster. BIM is being rapidly adopted across ASEAN and APEC, and is integrated into digital tools that financiers are using to prepare infrastructure projects for review and funding consideration.

Session 3: Quality Infrastructure & Safe Workplaces-Keys to National Prosperity & Growth

Life is precious. We all seek clean air and water, green land, good infrastructure, safe streets, comfortable homes, and safe places to work. Governments are genuinely working hard to create such positive developments. In developing countries migration in search of a better life, from rural areas to urban centers, is reshaping society. Through 2050, every 12 years about a billion people will move to cities mostly in Asia. They seek jobs leading to a better life. Governments are investing to build the needed infrastructure for this migration, and to attract investments to create an underlying industrial economy that can create employment under safe working conditions. Quality Infrastructure and Worker Safety in this economic renewal and growth are essential elements of national prosperity.

This session will review best practices, case studies and success stories working with Governments. We will share economic models based on national statistics that can show where the most effective investments can go. We will discuss mechanisms for developing domestic expertise through national capacity building and training. We will share examples of best practices where we have implemented such plans under Public Private Partnerships and MOUs with National Governments.

Session 4: Developing High Quality, Sustainable Infrastructure for the Future

High quality infrastructure is a pre-condition for economic and societal good health. While there is no clear definition for quality infrastructure, there are some agreed upon principles. At a minimum, quality infrastructure should utilize the best available technology to be reliable, economically and environmentally efficient, and aligned with international standards. In line with these principles, the Council also puts forth that safety goes hand in hand with high quality. The operational safety of infrastructure projects must be accurately estimated by government planners and should be an integral part of the entire planning, execution and maintenance cycle.

This session will review how U.S. companies can help improve safety metrics in the infrastructure project lifecycle to advance high quality infrastructure. This includes using technology-enabled solutions that can provide infrastructure project operators with the power to visualize and quantify the prevalence of fatigue and distraction on jobs sites. Demonstration of how the use of vast amounts of safety relevant data, analytic software, non-relational databases and powerful computer systems can help governments achieve their safety metrics will be showcased. Examples on how technology that is already applied in the oil and nuclear sectors can be of assistance to improve safety will also be shared.

Session 5: Advancing & Maintaining Safety and Quality in Project Life Cycle

Infrastructure should be easy to use, safe, disaster-resilient, and high-quality, yet cost effective and timely. To achieve these, each stage of the infrastructure project lifecycle must be properly planned and executed to ensure its sustainability for future generations, and inclusive economic growth. This is a challenging undertaking as infrastructure projects are becoming larger and more complex whilst there are capacity limitations in some countries on both the owner and contractor side. Projects that are managed well to high safety and quality standards are typically delivered more efficiently and with lower risks.

This session will review perspectives from the full infrastructure value chain from Project Management, Planning, Development, Engineering, Construction to Usage. Each speaker will share examples of well planned and executed projects, give examples of international best practices and lessons learned, share alternative and innovative delivery approaches, and examine the human elements intertwined in safe, good quality and efficient infrastructure development.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
Japan makes infrastructure push into Southeast Asia
ASEAN and China struggle to buckle the belt and road

Cambodia
Dragon City / The man behind Cambodia’s most ambitious development project
Sihanoukville highway work to begin
Three Cambodian cities chosen for Asean urban planning scheme

Indonesia
Indonesia real estate market expands as residential construction hits new heights
SOE infrastructure development drives Indonesia's economy
Property market review: From commodity to infrastructure driven
New Airport in Jakarta to Begin Construction in 2021 –
Massive infrastructure expansion expected in Jakarta within 10 years
Indonesia Is Spending Big on Infrastructure
Indonesia Prepares New Strategy to Meet 2019 Tourist Arrival Target

Laos
Korea approves US$15 million for Attapeu flood recovery
Two new Savannakhet bridges heading for May handover
France to help protect Laos’ cultural heritage
Facility Upgrade Complete At Na Phao International Checkpoint

Myanmar
Upscale housing project takes shape near Mandalay
State Counselor Vows Proper Scrutiny of all BRI Projects in Myanmar
New Yangon City Project: China, CCCC and Myanmar’s profits
Japan-backed bridge project begins in Yangon
Myanmar aims urban planning for over 330 towns by 2030: Union Minister
Water, traffic projects set to improve Yangon
Govt. plans to upgrade Tada-U Airport in Mandalay

Philippines
Infrastructure projects waiting in the wings
Diokno to Andaya: No ‘illegal cash advances’ for infra projects under Duterte | Philstar.com
Duterte reminds gov’t agencies on timely completion of infra projects
Cabinet men called to Senate probe on ‘Build, Build, Build’
Cavite extension of LRT-1 to begin construction next month | BusinessWorld
NLEX sets P16-B revenue target | BusinessWorld
Construction costs seen to rise on strong demand | Philstar.com
Reclamation in the Philippines: Good, bad or ugly? | Philstar.com
Philippines, Japan finalize ¥3.56 B grants for infrastructure |
PHL, Japan officials meet on infrastructure updates | BusinessWorld
Delay in 2019 budget OK affects P46-B projects | BusinessWorld

Singapore
Infrastructure players look for another Budget boost
Timely to diversify Singapore's funding sources for major infrastructure
Singapore's new 'Jewel' at Changi Airport set for unveiling on April 17
Getting the best value from the transport system
Government accepts Land Transport Master Plan 2040 recommendations
Singapore Is Luring Air and Sea Traffic With Infrastructure Push
Volvo unveils large scale autonomous bus in Singapore
“We’re not done building Singapore”, infrastructure a priority in 2019 budget, says Finance minister
University of Singapore's SDE4 building is a "prototype of sustainable design"

Thailand
Fitch sees uptick in cement demand on private construction
Agency OKs final Orange Line rail
NESDC: Infrastructure investment booms
Investment policy here to stay: PM
Delayed submarine cable up next for endorsement
EECI ready to construct B4.5bn first phase
No drought this year, says irrigation dept
FTI inviting political parties for policy talk
Bang Saray new destination on EEC
Pattaya continues rise as development hotspot

Vietnam
ADB provides $188m loan to improve connectivity in northwest
Chân Mây-Lăng Cô EZ lures $3.26b in investment
Property developers eye emerging markets
Đà Nẵng licenses $419m in new projects; $2.6b proposed
World Bank pledges to support Việt Nam in infrastructure development
Construction resumes on Việt Nam’s largest deep sea port
VNĐ5.2 trillion to be invested in wind power in Quảng Trị Province
Tiền Giang attracts two new projects
Undersea tunnel planned in Hạ Long City
New hope as construction of Ho Chi Minh City metro resumes after Tet
More funding needed for Southern Key Economic Region
Work on HCM City’s 1st metro route to be hastened
PM advises Hưng Yên to develop industrial, urban zones
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

Japan makes infrastructure push into Southeast Asia Nikkei Asian Review 19th Feb 2019
Japan Inc. is launching a plan intended to make it a bigger development player in Southeast Asia, a region increasingly awash in Chinese money. Cambodia is to be the first landing spot for the initiative, with about 60 Japanese trading companies, banks, general contractors and other parties already aboard. Through bilateral talks, Tokyo intends to advance urban development with focuses on the environment and so-called smart city infrastructure. Japan's broader strategy is to deliver its solutions to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The Asian Development Bank expects the region's infrastructure demand over the 30 years from 2016 to reach $3.1 trillion. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism this month will set up a framework to bring the project to Cambodia. Talks with the Philippine government have also begun. In the bilateral talks, Japan will ask partner nations to adopt more transparent administrative procedures and take other steps to make it easier for Japanese companies to operate. Corporate executives are to join the talks to nail down the details of technical cooperation. The recipient countries will decide on relatively underdeveloped areas that they want to benefit from Japan's technical assistance. The Japanese ministry plans to hold technical seminars and business matching opportunities for local and Japanese companies.

ASEAN and China struggle to buckle the belt and road East Asia Forum 26th Jan 2019
China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) continues to draw criticism and disapproval. Its sceptics brand it as China’s Marshall Plan or as a ‘neo-imperial project’. To ensure the initiative’s success, China should heed some of these concerns and take steps to improve the implementation of BRI-related projects. Doing so is particularly important in ASEAN — a region that stands to greatly benefit from BRI investment, if done right. ASEAN is the world’s sixth-largest economy with a total GDP of more than US$2.5 trillion. Economies across the region are growing steadily at an average annual rate of around 5 per cent. Sustaining this growth requires the region to meet its growing infrastructure needs, which are estimated to amount to US$2.8 trillion from 2016 to 2030. China’s BRI is important for ASEAN because it can help to fund and meet the region’s infrastructure needs. It also supports the success of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 initiatives.

Cambodia

Dragon City / The man behind Cambodia’s most ambitious development project The Cambodia Daily 5th Mar 2019
Almost a decade ago, Phuoeng Sophean – a Land Ministry official, and an imaginative architect serving as general secretary of the Board of Architects Cambodia – dreamt up the idea of a new capital of momentous proportions that he named “Samdech Techo Hun Sen Dragon City” Last week we looked at Cambodia’s $80 billion construction project known as Dragon City. Here, an in-depth interview with Sophean to discuss making the leap from dream to reality.

Sihanoukville highway work to begin Phnom Penh Post 5th Mar 2019
An expressway project from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville was announced to officially begin construction on March 22, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. After several delays, the $1.9 billion expressway – which has been invested in by the Chinese-owned company Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd – will take 48 months to be completed. The new highway – with a total distance of 190.3km and a width of 24.5m, and two lanes in either direction – will have a garden in its median and barriers on both sides to protect people and animals passing through.

Three Cambodian cities chosen for Asean urban planning scheme Khmer Times 27th Feb 2019
Phnom Penh, Battambang, and Siem Reap have been included in the Asean Smart Cities Network, and will benefit from the assistance of the Japanese government in creating technologically advanced urban spaces. The Asean Smart Cities Network (ASCN) is a collaborative platform where cities from Asean member states work towards the common goal of smart and sustainable urban development. The project is supported by the Japanese government. The chosen Cambodian cities will benefit from Japanese investment into modern facilities to improve the lives of their citizens, according to representatives of the Japanese government who yesterday attended the first meeting of the ‘Public-Private Platform for Urban Development between Cambodia and Japan’.

Indonesia

Indonesia real estate market expands as residential construction hits new heights Borneo Post Online 3rd Mar 2019
For the first time since its inception, the Indonesian government’s One Million Houses (OMH) programme has hit its goal of constructing at least 1m units per year, with 1.13 million built in 2018 as part of efforts to reduce the country’s housing backlog. According to Khalawi Abdul Hamid, director-general of housing provision at the Ministry of Public Works and Housing (MPWH), 50 per cent of the homes were constructed using funds from the state’s housing budget. This was split into two categories: physical development assistance, whereby the state directly funds construction; and financing assistance, including indirect funding via subsidised loan programmes such as the Housing Finance Liquidity Facility (FLPP), which covers 70 per cent of mortgage funding with an interest rate of 0.5 per cent over 20 years.

SOE infrastructure development drives Indonesia's economy The Jakarta Post 25th Feb 2019
Massive infrastructure projects by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have helped Indonesia improve its logistical performance, although the country still lags behind neighboring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo administration, SOEs have in the past four years boosted their participation in infrastructure development to improve connectivity between land, air and sea. This year,1,794 kilometers of toll roads will be constructed, up from 1,254 km in the nine months of 2018.

Property market review: From commodity to infrastructure driven The Jakarta Post 19th Feb 2019
A new era of the Indonesian property market began in the 1980s as seen in the development of new towns during the period between 1985 until the 2000s, such as Lippo Karawaci, Gading Serpong, Bumi Serpong Damai in Tangerang and Kota Legenda in Bekasi, east of the capital. The new towns triggered the property market in the Greater Jakarta as an alternative for most of the middle and lower middle-class. Within a relatively short period the new town development managed to enter the market boom cycle due to soaring demand levels.

New Airport in Jakarta to Begin Construction in 2021 – Indonesia Expat 15th Feb 2019
Angkasa Pura II, Indonesia’s largest airport operator is looking to spend billions of dollars to build a new airport in Jakarta and upgrade the existing one to cater to an unprecedented travel boom and compete with neighbouring countries for tourism revenue. The state-owned operator of 16 airports across Indonesia will conclude a feasibility study for a greenfield airport in Jakarta this year that may require an investment of about Rp100 trillion (US$7 billion), according to president director Muhammad Awaluddin. The company is already spending hundreds of million dollars in adding a new terminal and a runway in Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, he said.

Massive infrastructure expansion expected in Jakarta within 10 years The Straits Times 29th Jan 2019
In an attempt to make Jakarta an efficient city, Indonesia's capital is set to have a massive amount of infrastructure built and expanded within 10 years, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has said. The idea was discussed and agreed to during a meeting on Monday (Jan 28) hosted by Vice President Jusuf Kalla for several other officials, including the governors of Jakarta and Banten, the deputy mayor of West Java and the finance minister. Anies explained that the budget for the decade-long project, which he said might amount to 605 trillion rupiah (US$58 billion), would be financed by the central government and the city administration.

Indonesia Is Spending Big on Infrastructure Fair Observer 25th Feb 2019
With an election on the horizon, President Jokowi needs to justify his spending on Indonesia’s infrastructure. On April 17, Indonesians will head to the polls for a presidential election. To help choose the best person for the job, election debates have been held between the two candidates, President Joko Widodo and former General Prabowo Subianto. The latest debate, which took place on February 17, has caught the attention of voters, with the main subjects being food security, energy and infrastructure.

Indonesia Prepares New Strategy to Meet 2019 Tourist Arrival Target Jakarta Globe 30th Jan 2019
When President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo set out to double Indonesia's foreign tourist arrivals within the five years of his presidency, many were skeptical.  Now, the target seems to be within reach. Combined government efforts that included the massive development of airports and tourist destinations, aggressive digital promotions and a visa-free policy have, along with the weakening rupiah, attracted 16,2 million foreign tourists to Indonesia last year, which is 71 percent more than four years ago. Still, some setbacks were unavoidable. A series of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis over the past 12 months, as well as the tragic crash of Lion Air flight JT-610 into the Java Sea near Jakarta, resulted in the government missing its target to woo 17 million foreign tourists last year. Industry players worry that the bad image created by these disasters would take long to erase and thus undermine the country's ability to attract 20 million foreign tourists this year.

Laos

Korea approves US$15 million for Attapeu flood recovery Vientiane Times 6th Mar 2019
The government of the Republic of Korea has approved US$15 million (over 128 billion kip) to implement a flood recovery programme and assist the people of Sanamxay district in Attapeu province. Speaking at a press conference in Vientiane yesterday, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Laos, Mr Shin Sung-soon, said his government had approved US$15 million in Official Development Assistance this year in support of Attapeu province. “US$12 million comes from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and US$2.8 million is from the Korea Foundation for International Healthcare,” he said. Resident Representative of KOICA to Laos, Mr Sungsoo Oh, said they had been carrying out the project in Sanamxay district since January after funding was approved by the Korean government.

Two new Savannakhet bridges heading for May handover Vientiane Times 18th Feb 2019
The new Xekoumkam and Xethamuak bridges along National Road No. 9 in Savannakhet province are approaching 80 percent completion with the official in charge expecting to hand over the projects in May. “Construction of the two bridges is now 77.49 percent complete. We expect the work to be finished in April and will hand over the bridges in the middle of May,” the Deputy Project Director, Mr Khammanh Senphimmachack, told Vientiane Times on Monday. “The main structures are complete and we’re now working on the railings and the bridge approaches,” he said. The two concrete and steel bridges are part of the Road No. 9 upgrade which forms the East-West Economic Corridor linking Laos with Thailand and Vietnam.

France to help protect Laos’ cultural heritage Vientiane Times 7th Feb 2019
A French aid organisation has expressed its intention to help the Lao government protect heritage sites and infrastructure in Savannakhet and Champassak provinces. Director General of the Heritage Department, under the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Thongbay Phothisan, said yesterday that Agence Francaise De Developpement (AFD) has sent a team of French experts to Laos to set up a project that will preserve some of Laos’ oldest and most important buildings. “We completed a session with Champassak officials yesterday. Today, we will have more talks with Savannakhet officials,” Mr Thongbay said, adding that the discussions are aimed at ensuring that the two sides agree on the parameters and scope of the project. Mr Thongbay told Vientiane Times in a telephone interview from Savannakhet that the main focus of the project will be on restoring and maintaining temples, houses and French colonial buildings that are of cultural significance in the two provinces.

Facility Upgrade Complete At Na Phao International Checkpoint KPL Lao News Agency 5th Feb 2019
Phu Bia Mining (PBM) officially opened the company-funded upgraded Na Phao international customs checkpoint in Khammuan Province on January 30, 2019. The upgrade of LAK 19,359,000 (US$2,600) includes roof maintenance to the staff kitchen and cafeteria areas. The checkpoint connects the Lao People’s Democratic Republic with Vietnam and lies on a major haulage route for the company, with over 80 per cent of PBM’s copper in concentrate passing through the facility each year. PBM Chairman Chanpheng Bounnaphol said the donation to upgrade the facility was indicative of the company’s ongoing commitment to assisting communities close to its operations and haulage routes.

Myanmar

Upscale housing project takes shape near Mandalay The Myanmar Times 19th Feb 2019
A housing project to be built in Yay Tagon Taung in Mandalay Region’s Patheingyi township is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs, said the company behind the project. The project site is on 202 hectares of land on a golf course owned by the Mandalay City Development Committee about six kilometres east of Mandalay city.

State Counselor Vows Proper Scrutiny of all BRI Projects in Myanmar The Irrawaddy 19th Feb 2019
Thorough scrutiny of the projects under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is needed to assess their likely short- and long-term impacts on the country and the public, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said on Monday at the first meeting of a committee tasked with overseeing implementation of the projects. During her first meeting with members of the Steering Committee for Implementation of the BRI in Myanmar, held in Naypyitaw, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who chairs the panel, emphasized the need “to make sure that the selected projects are in conformity with national plans, policies and domestic procedures.”

New Yangon City Project: China, CCCC and Myanmar’s profits Eleven Media 18th Feb 2019
If we were to take a look back at the New Yangon City Development Master Plan (hereinafter referred to as the Yangon City Project), one will find that it is directly linked to China’s mega-infrastructure project that is the One Belt One Road (OBOR). Since the “new city” will be built at a location able to easily access the sea, it is one of the most important routes for OBOR. Since the conception of the Yangon City Project, there has been pointed remarks as to prevent possible money laundering, to drown in debts owed to China as well as not to generally be the sacrificial candle that will give light to other nations except ours. Despite criticisms, the project had went ahead with rights given to China Communications and Construction Company (CCCC) with Myanmar gaining extremely slim margins of only 5 per cent and China 95.

Japan-backed bridge project begins in Yangon The Myanmar Times 15th Feb 2019
Construction of a Japan-funded bridge in Myanmar, seen as a symbol of competing interests between China and Japan, kicked off Wednesday with a groundbreaking ceremony in Yangon, the country’s commercial capital. The bridge, funded by a ¥31 billion (K427.5 billion) low-interest loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, will be constructed over the Bago River next to one that was built with Chinese aid more than two decades ago. According to JICA, a key objective of the project is to ensure smooth access to and active investment in the Japanese-backed Thilawa Special Economic Zone in Thanlyin township, just southeast of Yangon, which has so far attracted more than $1.5 billion (K2.3 trillion) in investment.

Myanmar aims urban planning for over 330 towns by 2030: Union Minister Eleven Media 13th Feb 2019
Myanmar is aiming to have systematic urban planning for over 330 towns across the country by 2030, said Han Zaw, Union Minister for Construction on February 10. “The objectives of the ministry are to build 18 feet wide and 41,111 kilometers long concrete and tar roads to meet ASEAN standards, to build all concrete bridges with 24 feet width with two lanes road, to build towns with systematic urban planning and to build one million apartments owned by public and private sectors in the towns in 2030,” said the minister.

Water, traffic projects set to improve Yangon The Myanmar Times 12th Feb 2019
Yangon has been striving to cope with the demands of modernisation ever since the military junta that ruled the country for over half a century gave way to the pressure of reforms nearly a decade ago. The city’s ageing infrastructure, some of which dates back to the British colonial era, is unable to light up new highrise buildings, fails to supply sufficient potable water to the sudden influx of local and foreign migrants, its traffic system or the lack of it, utterly helpless to manage the surge in the number of vehicles.

Govt. plans to upgrade Tada-U Airport in Mandalay Eleven 29th Jan 2019
Mandalay Region government is planning to upgrade Tada-U Airport as it has the longest runway in South East Asia and it will be a good place in the region, said its Chief Minister Dr Zaw Myint Maung at Invest Myanmar Summit 2019 held at Nay Pyi Taw on January 28. “The airport is 35 kilometers away from Mandalay and it has the longest runway in South East Asia. We are developing the airport with Japanese help and it has good potentials. The airport can provide services to three million passengers annually. If we upgrade it, it will be a good place as an international airport in South East Asia. So we are trying to invite airlines to land at the airport,” said the chief minister.

Philippines

Infrastructure projects waiting in the wings Philippines Star 14th Feb 2019
Philippine infrastructure projects with public-private (or private-public) partnerships, as differentiated from those with full government funding, are creeping back into the system – and this is a good thing. Even if they are in hybrid form, which the government had initially accepted as an alternative to projects financed through full official development assistance (ODA), we are happy as long as the job is done faster, under full transparency, and with the least corruption. With the current government’s term almost nearing mid-life, there is palpable impatience felt in President Duterte’s demeanor whenever updates to the P8-trillion Build Build Build (BBB) program are brought up.

Diokno to Andaya: No ‘illegal cash advances’ for infra projects under Duterte | Philstar.com Philippines Star 13th Feb 2019
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Wednesday said the practice of early procurement is “not new,” as he denied allegations from a lawmaker that contractors paid “commissions” or “cash advances” for multibillion-peso infrastructure projects. Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. (Camarines Sur) has accused Diokno of several anomalies, including the supposed “insertion” of P75 billion in the proposed 2019 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways without the agency’s knowledge and Diokno’s relatives allegedly receiving favors for government projects. On Tuesday, Andaya claimed projects funded by the P75-billion “addition” to DPWH’s budget had been bid out last year under an early procurement circular issued by the Department of Budget and Management. Contractors are now demanding refunds after lawmakers realigned the money, he said.

Duterte reminds gov’t agencies on timely completion of infra projects The Inquirer 11th Feb 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte has reminded government agencies to ensure the timely completion of vital infrastructure projects in the country. In his Memorandum Circular No. 57 signed Feb. 7, Duterte said concerned government agencies “shall strictly observe the laws issuances and policies pertaining to the timely completion of government infrastructure projects, including the imposition of appropriate sanctions for infractions and violations thereof.” In undertaking government infrastructure projects, government agencies and their heads are asked to ensure that all “all measures to promote the safety of, and mitigate inconvenience to the public are in place.” Duterte added that the Department of of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), as chair of the Infrastructure Cluster, is tasked to enhance the delivery of public infrastructure by ensuring efficient and transparent management and public investment efficiency.

Cabinet men called to Senate probe on ‘Build, Build, Build’ BusinessMirror 5th Mar 2019
MEMBERS of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs  are poised to grill ranking Duterte administration officials on March 5 on the “status, sustainability and risks” of multibillion-peso projects lined up under Malacañang’s massive “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program, as well as the preferred mode of financing to bankroll the Palace-backed projects.

Cavite extension of LRT-1 to begin construction next month | BusinessWorld Business World 4th Mar 2019
THE construction of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) extension to Cavite is scheduled to begin next month, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said. “We are starting in April the actual construction of LRT-1 Cavite Extension connecting Baclaran and Bacoor, Cavite,” the DoTr said in a statement on Monday. It said the target is to complete the project by the fourth quarter of 2021. Once the extension is up and running, passenger traffic on LRT-1 is expected to increase to 800,000 from the current 300,000.

NLEX sets P16-B revenue target | BusinessWorld Business World 4th Mar 2019
NLEX CORP. is targeting to generate P16 billion in revenues this year, with the opening of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) Harbor Link Segment 10. Luigi L. Bautista, president of NLEX Corp., told reporters last week that the company is looking to increase revenues by 33% this year. “This year is P16 billion. Last year, we made P12 billion,” he said when asked about the revenue target for 2019.

Construction costs seen to rise on strong demand | Philstar.com philstar.com 1st Mar 2019
Prices of construction materials, particularly cement, are expected to rise due to strong demand from the public and private sectors and the imposition of tariff on imports, real estate services firm KMC Savills said. In a briefing, KMC Savills research manager Fredrick Rara said prices of construction materials increased last year due to demand from both public and private construction. He said demand for construction materials are seen to rise again this year as both the public and private sector are implementing projects. The government, in particular, is implementing infrastructure projects under the Build Build Build program. Rara said the country’s top developers have also committed a capital expenditure of P700 billion to P800 billion this year for projects.

Reclamation in the Philippines: Good, bad or ugly? | Philstar.com philstar.com 27th Feb 2019
Reclamation is the process of creating new land from oceans, riverbeds, lakebeds, or other bodies of water. In the Philippines, there are at least 19 reclamation projects in various stages of permitting, development and implementation, according to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA). These include the Horizon Manila Reclamation, a 419- hectare joint venture project between the local government of Manila and JBros Construction Corp. The City of Pearl Reclamation Project, a 407-hectare project is another reclamation development, also by the local government of Manila and UAA Kinming Group Development Corp. The Manila Waterfront City Reclamation Project is another project. It is a 318-hectare reclamation venture by the local government of Manila and its private sector partner, Waterfront Manila Premier Development Corp.

Philippines, Japan finalize ¥3.56 B grants for infrastructure | philstar.com 24th Feb 2019
The Philippine and Japanese governments have formally exchanged notes on ¥3.56 billion worth of grants for the establishment of a proposed railway institute, as well as peace-building efforts in Mindanao, the Department of Finance said. According to the DOF, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel and Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda conducted on Thursday the exchange of notes for the Y1.2 billion grant assistance for the provision of train simulators to be used by the proposed Philippine Railway Institute. They also exchanged notes on the ¥1.8 billion grant for the construction of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) training centers in Marawi City, Basilan and Sultan Kudarat under the program for the urgent improvement of socioeconomic infrastructure in the Bangsamoro region, and another ¥560 million grant for the provision of well-drilling machines and underground water detecting machines under the Economic and Social Development Program.

PHL, Japan officials meet on infrastructure updates | BusinessWorld Business World 20th Feb 2019
PHILIPPINE officials are headed to Osaka this week for meetings with Japanese counterparts on plans for the new Bangsamoro region as well as infrastructure projects funded by official development assistance (ODA). Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III will lead President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s economic team for the seventh meeting of the Philippines-Japan High-Level Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation set today.

Delay in 2019 budget OK affects P46-B projects | BusinessWorld Business World 27th Jan 2019
THE DELAYED ENACTMENT of the 2019 national budget will surely hurt economic growth in the first quarter, the Finance chief said, noting that some P46 billion worth of projects have already been pushed back.

Singapore

Infrastructure players look for another Budget boost The Business Times 8th Mar 2019
AN IMPORT-EXPORT bank for Singapore in the next Budget? Yes, please. That is one Budget request from mainboard-listed Boustead Singapore - which would like a national infrastructure bank or import-export bank to add to local lenders' project finance offerings, according to senior vice-president Keith Chu. "Here, we depend on the likes of local banks, whose motivations are purely commercial and which may not take into account various other factors," lamented Mr Chu, whose company has handled contracts such as waste heat recovery units for natural gas facilities in Thailand and Vietnam and smart mapping services for agencies in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Timely to diversify Singapore's funding sources for major infrastructure The Business Times 8th Mar 2019
AMID a slowing global economy and trade tensions between the world's two giant nations that could worsen the slump, the Singapore government's decision to guard the city state's reserves and instead borrow to partly fund "lumpy" and long-term infrastructure investments is perfectly timed.

Singapore's new 'Jewel' at Changi Airport set for unveiling on April 17 The Business Times 8th Mar 2019
THE much-anticipated Jewel Changi Airport, with more than 280 shops and food and beverage outlets, will open its doors to the world on April 17, 2019. Before the opening, a public preview will be held from April 11 to 16 for Singapore residents eager to be among the first to see the 10-storey development. Registration will open online at jewelpreview.com at 6am on March 12, and each person can register for up to four people. A total of about 500,000 free tickets will be available, Changi Airport Group (CAG) said in a statement on Thursday. It came after Jewel's opening date was announced by Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Transport, in Parliament during the debate on the ministry's budget.

Getting the best value from the transport system The Straits Times 8th Mar 2019
After years of investment on expanding and improving Singapore's transport infrastructure, the topic of financial sustainability was raised by Acting Transport Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament yesterday. Dr Balakrishnan pointed out that spending on transport has "more than doubled over the last 10 years, from $5.4 billion in 2009 to $11.5 billion in 2019". He noted that the MRT network is expanding, and the Thomson-East Coast Line will open from year-end. It will "eventually serve up to one million commuters".

Government accepts Land Transport Master Plan 2040 recommendations Channel NewsAsia 8th Mar 2019
The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Land Transport Master Plan 2040 advisory panel, Acting Minister for Transport Vivian Balakrishnan announced during the Committee of Supply (COS) debate on Thursday (Mar 7). In February, the panel submitted nine recommendations for an inclusive, well-connected and fast transport system. The recommendations fall under three key areas namely 20-minute towns and a 45-minute city, transport for all, as well as healthy lives, safer journeys.   

Singapore Is Luring Air and Sea Traffic With Infrastructure Push Bloomberg.com 7th Mar 2019
Singapore is transforming its infrastructure to fend off competition from the seas to the skies. The island-city plans to begin operating its fifth terminal at Changi Airport, Asia’s second-busiest international aerodome, by 2030 to cater to growing travel demand, Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Transport Lam Pin Min said in parliament Thursday. A new shopping and retail attraction named Jewel, housing the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, will open next month at Changi.

Volvo unveils large scale autonomous bus in Singapore Netimperative 6th Mar 2019
Volvo Buses has partnered with the Nanyang Technological University and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority will launch the world’s first 12-metre fully electric autonomous bus. First of two buses has completed rigorous testing and is ready for trials on designated public roads. It will be equipped with numerous sensors and navigation controls, managed by a comprehensive artificial intelligence (AI) system, backed by industry leading cybersecurity measures. Cities like Singapore that have high infrastructure sophistication are ideal locations where autonomous vehicles can be deployed readily. For the past two years, consulting firm KPMG has ranked Singapore as the second best prepared country for autonomous vehicles after the Netherlands.

“We’re not done building Singapore”, infrastructure a priority in 2019 budget, says Finance minister The Independent 18th Feb 2019
In today’s Budget 2019 deliberations, Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat aspires to forge a subtle equilibrium — achieve economic vigilance while extending substantial social spending prior to elections which may be slated earlier this year. The 2019 budget will include a variety of policy priorities, one of which is infrastructure. While international conditions necessitate watchfulness due to weaker demand and the U.S.-China trade pressures are leading to Singapore’s export-reliant economy running at a slower pace than expected, Heng and other officials have repeatedly affirmed that they’re “not done building Singapore.”

University of Singapore's SDE4 building is a "prototype of sustainable design" Dezeen 1st Mar 2019
Serie Architects and Multiply Architects have built a design school in Singapore that is net-zero and sustainable, with breezy open-air learning spaces. The School of Design & Environment 4 (SDE4) claims to be the first new-build net-zero energy building in Singapore.  The architects described it as "a prototype of sustainable design" that combined its net-zero target with "a revalidated grammar of tropical architecture." SDE4 provides more than 1,500 square metres of design studio space, along with an open plaza, various public spaces, workshops, research centres, a cafe and a library.

Thailand

Fitch sees uptick in cement demand on private construction Bangkok Post 13th Feb 2019
Demand for cement in Thailand is expected to increase in the next few years based on signs of a recovery in the private construction sector, according to a report by Fitch Ratings. Cement use should be driven by an increase in residential property development, mass transit extensions and a plethora of new commercial building projects, including several large mixed-use projects in key Bangkok areas. Fitch predicts high-single-digit percentage growth in demand in 2019. Cement sales figures from the Office of Industrial Economics for the third quarter of 2018 showed the first positive growth in 10 quarters at 3.7% year-on-year, with further growth of 2.8% year-on-year in the fourth quarter. Demand for cement remained low for the entire year with 0.8% year-on-year growth in 2018, attributed to a 2% contraction in domestic sales in the first half. This was despite a recovery in private construction in the first quarter.

Agency OKs final Orange Line rail Bangkok Post 11th Feb 2019
The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) has given the nod to the Orange Line's western section, stretching from Bang Khun Non to Min Buri, as one of the last mass transit projects in Bangkok approved by this government. According to an NESDC source who requested anonymity, the council on Feb 6 approved the Orange Line's 235-billion-baht western section after the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Committee agreed to the development under a fast-track joint investment scheme on Jan 21. Investment in the western section will be in the form of the net cost PPP model, whereby the government will be responsible for land expropriation fees and the private sector will invest in the rail system and provide operations and maintenance. The section's operating contract will run for 30 years.

NESDC: Infrastructure investment booms Bangkok Post 7th Feb 2019
Thailand saw significant economic and social progress in the past five years, especially in infrastructure development, according to a report by the National Economic and Social Development Commission (NESDC). Thosaporn Sirisamphand, NESDC secretary-general, said the report showed infrastructure development progressed with 2.45 trillion baht in investment during 2014-18, which is forecast to increase the country's competitiveness. "There has been quite some progress in development after new investments in main infrastructure over the past 10 years," he said. This includes 1.27 trillion baht in rail development that grew the amount of dual-track rails in the country to 2,453 kilometres, up from 251km, making a total of 5,738km of tracks that includes the first stage of Thai-Sino high-speed rail.

Investment policy here to stay: PM The Nation 5th Mar 2019
Opening a seminar on “Thailand’s Investment Year – What’s New?”, held by the Board of Investment (BoI) with over 2,000 investors attending yesterday, Prayut said: “The government will continue with matters of investment and investment promotion for the rest of its term and the next government will certainly continue [the policy]. We hope that investors will take part in strengthening Thailand’s economy, which will benefit other countries in the region, with stability and sustainability.” He said the country’s development was still reliant on investments from within the country and from other countries that have advanced technologies and innovation. The targeted industries have been chosen with a clear focus on promoting investments to upgrade industries with manufacturing bases in Thailand and also attracting investments in new industries. “The government has also focused on laying the country’s foundations, while building up favourable factors for investment, improving potential industries, upgrading productivity and industrial plants’ efficiency, developing smart farmers, promoting alternative energy and renewable energy, and developing transportation infrastructure and special economic zones including the EEC,” the premier said.

Delayed submarine cable up next for endorsement Bangkok Post 4th Mar 2019
The government is expected to endorse a 2-billion-baht budget for a long-delayed submarine cable project by March. Digital Economy and Society (DE) Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said the budget will finance the development of the first submarine cable route linking Thailand with Japan, Singapore and India. CAT Telecom has already agreed to form joint ventures with Chinese partners -- China Telecom Corporation and China Unicom -- to develop the project, he said. "China Telecom and China Unicom suggested Thailand develop the submarine cable route because of the massive amount of users along the route," Mr Pichet said. The joint venture project will soon be proposed to CAT Telecom's board for approval before sending it for cabinet approval in March, he said. Mr Pichet said the ministry will later propose a second route for a submarine cable linking Thailand with Hong Kong and mainland China. No further details are available.

EECI ready to construct B4.5bn first phase Bangkok Post 28th Feb 2019
The Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECI) is set to start construction of the first phase worth 4.5 billion baht in 2019, says the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA). The EECI is an industrial promotion zone located in Sri Racha district of Chon Buri and Wang Chan district of Rayong. NSTDA president Narong Sirilertworakul said the first phase of development is in Wang Chan Valley with NSTDA as developer. "The agency has a government budget of 1.1 billion baht so far to spend on construction of the EECI's related infrastructure such as buildings, roads, power and water," Mr Narong said. He said the NSTDA will proceed to disburse the fiscal 2020 budget for the remaining 3.4 billion baht on a biorefinery project for farm products under the first phase, expected to finish construction by 2022. The EECI site in Wang Chan Valley occupies a land plot owned by national oil and gas conglomerate PTT. The location spans 3,140 rai, of which 1,000 rai is held by the Kamnoetvidya Science Academy, the Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology and the Wangchan Reforestation Project, all run by PTT.

No drought this year, says irrigation dept The Nation 20th Feb 2019
THE ROYAL Irrigation Department (RID) announced yesterday that Thailand will not suffer from drought this year as there will be enough water for use until early 2020.  Deputy director-general Thaweesak Thanadachopol said an official survey in irrigation zones had learned that there will be sufficient water supply for consumption and farming.  Thailand will not experience a repeat of recent drought disasters because the RID and related agencies had undertaken a detailed study of water usage over the past two years and are planning drought-tackling measures to cope with any problems that arise, he added.  However, the senior RID official said that six key reservoirs were still being monitored, namely Khon Kaen’s Ubol Ratana Dam, Lampang’s Mae Mok Dam, Uthai Thani’s Thap Salao Dam, Suphan Buri’s Krasiao Dam, Nakhon Ratchasima’s Lam Phra Phloeng Dam and Buri Ram’s Lam Nang Rong Dam.  Operators of the Ubol Ratana and Mae Mok dams also imposed a ban on all farming in those areas, in order to reserve water during the current dry season, which runs until the end of April, to ensure there is sufficient water for consumption, Thaweesak said.

FTI inviting political parties for policy talk Bangkok Post 14th Feb 2019
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) plans to invite all political leaders from every party to a discussion on March 18 about the next step in Thailand's business and industrial sectors, out of concern about low efficiency and global competitiveness. The FTI plans to propose white papers to all parties consisting of suggestions from the country's business and industrial operators on Thailand's economic outlook, government policy and a facelift for the business and industrial sectors. Supant Mongkolsuthree, the FTI chairman, said many companies are concerned about the country's future competitiveness. The FTI conducted an internal survey from all 45 industries and clusters, totalling 10,000 companies nationwide, finding 61% are trapped at the Industry 2.0 stage. "Another 28% and 9% of the companies surveyed are in the 3.0 and 1.0 stages, respectively," said Mr Supant. "Surprisingly, only 2% of the companies have reached the 4.0 stage, which is the goal under the current government."

Bang Saray new destination on EEC Bangkok Post 6th Feb 2019
Pattaya has been a focal point for development historically. In the past decade, the resort town's more popular areas such as Wong Amat, Phra Tamnak, Jomtien and Na Jomtien were developed heavily for the condominium market. With limited beachfront land along these beaches, leading developers are looking further down the coastline in areas between Bang Saray and Sattahip. The shift in development to the south coincides with the government's plans to develop the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which further increases the opportunity for the area's potential for future growth and expansion. In 2018, Pattaya was the 18th most-visited city in the world, attracting 8.67 million international travellers, according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index 2018. This makes the city more popular than Bali and creates a powerful focal point for the EEC region.

Pattaya continues rise as development hotspot Bangkok Post 6th Feb 2019
Pattaya has been a focal point for development historically. In the past decade, Pattaya's more popular areas such as Wong Amat, Phra Tamnak, Jomtien and Na Jomtien were developed heavily for the condominium market. With limited beachfront land along these beaches, developers are looking further down the coastline in areas between Bang Saray and Sattahip. This shift in development to the south coincides with the government's plans to develop the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which further increases the opportunity for the area's potential for future growth and expansion.

Vietnam

ADB provides $188m loan to improve connectivity in northwest Vietnam News 5th Mar 2019
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday signed a US$188 million loan for a project which aims to improve roads between the Nội Bài – Lào Cai Expressway and northwestern provinces. The loan will finance upgrades of 198 kilometres of roads that connect several towns and districts in the provinces of Lai Châu, Lào Cai and Yên Bái. The project is expected to enhance economic opportunities for some of the poorest people in the area. The Australian Government will provide a grant of $4.48 million to finance engineering designs and to implement road safety campaigns. “The project aims to expand the benefits of the Greater Mekong Subregion corridors to the northwestern provinces,” said Eric Sidgwick, ADB country director for Việt Nam. “The improved connectivity will not only boost border trade, private investment and job creation in the region, but also provide better access to basic social services, such as education, healthcare, job training and emergency disaster relief for the people of the northwestern provinces, especially the poor ethnic minorities.”

Chân Mây-Lăng Cô EZ lures $3.26b in investment Vietnam News 5th Mar 2019
The Chân Mây-Lăng Cô Economic Zone (EZ) in the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế has attracted nearly 50 projects with total registered investment capital of more than VNĐ76 trillion (US$3.26 billion). In the first two months of this year alone the IZ welcomed four investment projects worth over VNĐ15 trillion, local authorities said. One of the largest projects in the zone is an auto manufacturing – assembly complex developed by Kim Long Nam JSC. The 160ha complex, expected to cost VNĐ3.33 trillion in the first phase, will have a designed production capacity of 16,000 buses annually. Others include the 126ha Lăng Cô-Đầm Lập An and Bãi Cả tourism projects, worth a combined of VNĐ10.5 trillion, and the Lăng Cô market project, capitalised at VNĐ85 billion. In order to lure more investment to the zone, Thừa Thiên-Huế will continue to improve infrastructure with a focus on Chân Mây Port so it can handle six million tonnes of goods per year.

Property developers eye emerging markets Vietnam News 2nd Mar 2019
Distance is no longer a problem for property investors in and around HCM City thanks to improved transport infrastructure. The southern property market is seeing an increasing trend of investors looking to the southern hub’s neighbouring provinces. With land running out for property development in the city, investors are eyeing markets like Đồng Nai, Bình Dương, Vũng Tàu, Long An and Bình Phước where prices are more reasonable and have significant potential for property development. This was creating an investment wave in emerging real estate markets while traditional markets were reaching saturation point, general director of real estate services firm DKRA Việt Nam Phạm Lâm said. With the development of transport infrastructure, Lâm forecast emerging real estate markets would boom.

Đà Nẵng licenses $419m in new projects; $2.6b proposed Vietnam News 1st Mar 2019
The central city’s People’s Committee said it had granted licences to seven foreign direct investment projects worth US$419.4 million, and agreed investment research for 15 other projects worth an estimated $2.6 billion. The city said the projects included three automobile production and accessories projects from Malaysia, Russia and Taiwan, and two tourism property projects from Japan. Mabuchi Motor also planned to expand its plant in Hòa Khánh Industrial Zone with $30 million, while Tan Chong Group has agreed to pour $50 million to build a second Nissan car manufacturing factory in the zone. Property companies Katsuura Hotel Mikazuki and Sun Frontier Investment have agreed to spend more than $156.4 million on a five-star resort and riverside tower project.

World Bank pledges to support Việt Nam in infrastructure development Vietnam News 22nd Feb 2019
The World Bank (WB) is willing to work with Việt Nam in infrastructure development and wants to share Việt Nam’s experience with other countries in this sphere, said WB Vice President for Infrastructure Makhtar Diop. During a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Thursday in Hà Nội, the bank official congratulated Việt Nam on its impressive achievements in economic growth and social welfare. Many countries could learn from Việt Nam’s experience in successfully transferring from a low-income to middle-income nation, while ensuring macro-economic and social stability, he said. He hoped Việt Nam would continue playing an important role in developing the region and sub-region. Diop appreciated Việt Nam’s power energy development, saying the WB is ready to assist the country in building the North-South Expressway and waterway, as well as developing energy and a power network, especially solar power systems.

Construction resumes on Việt Nam’s largest deep sea port Vietnam News 22nd Feb 2019
Gemadept Joint Stock Company under Gemadept Corporation on Thursday restarted construction of Việt Nam’s largest deep sea port – Gemalink Cái Mép – after years of delay caused by economic downturn. The project has a total investment of US$520 million including $330 million in the first phase and $190 million in the second phase. The company said the Gemalink port in the Cái Mép - Thị Vải port area in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu would span an area of 72ha and would be able to receive the world’s largest ships. The port would have an annual capacity of 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU). Đỗ Văn Minh, the company’s chairman, said that as soon as the project completed its first phase, Gemalink would double the container loading capacity at Gemadept’s seaports and complete its service chain nationwide.

VNĐ5.2 trillion to be invested in wind power in Quảng Trị Province Vietnam News 19th Feb 2019
Quảng Trị Province People’s Committee gave its approval to two companies to develop wind power projects worth a total of VNĐ5.2 trillion (US$221.2 million) in the central province. Hướng Phùng Wind Power Company Limited will be allowed to develop Hướng Phùng 3 Wind Power Plant with a designed capacity of 30MW and a total investment of more than VNĐ1.58 trillion. Covering nearly nine hectares in Hướng Phùng Commune, Hướng Hóa District, the plant is expected to be completed in 2021 and operate for 50 years. Quảng Trị GELEX Energy Company will invest in building three wind power plants – GELEX 1, 2 and 3. Each has a designed capacity of 30MW. These plants, with a total investment of nearly VNĐ3.66 trillion, will be built in Hướng Hóa District’s Hướng Linh Commune and Đakrông District’s Hướng Hiệp Commune between now and 2021. They will also operate for 50 years. Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chính said one wind power project was already operational in the province while four 30MW projects were going to be put into operation.

Tiền Giang attracts two new projects Vietnam News 19th Feb 2019
Tiền Giang Province has attracted two new investment projects to its industrial parks, with a combined registered capital of VNĐ5.4 trillion (US$232.58 million). Nguyễn Thanh Liêm, deputy head of the management board for Tiền Giang’s industrial parks, said that the province has 101 projects with total registered capital of VNĐ47.8 trillion renting over 529 hectares of land (which covers about 70 per cent of the available land at its four industrial parks). The industrial production value of the companies at these parks within the first two months of the year was more than VNĐ12.2 trillion, 14.56 per cent higher than last year’s period. Exports were $423 million, more than 8 per cent higher than the same period last year.

Undersea tunnel planned in Hạ Long City Vietnam News 13th Feb 2019
The People’s Committee in northern province of Quảng Ninh wants to build an undersea tunnel at Cửa Lục Bay. They have submitted a report to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc for approval. The tunnel will connect the Vườn Đào T-junction of Bãi Cháy Ward and the coastal roads of the Vinhomes urban area at Hạ Long City’s Hòn Gai Ward. It is expected to have six lanes for vehicles and with a maximum speed of 60 kilometres per hour. It will cost more than VNĐ9.7 trillion (US$417.6 million) to build. The project has a total length of 2,750 metres and can resist level seven earthquakes.

New hope as construction of Ho Chi Minh City metro resumes after Tet Tuoi Tre News 12th Feb 2019
As the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday already came to an end, workers have returned to work on the massive construction site of the first-ever metro line in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday, with the project management hoping to overcome funding difficulties to speed up completion of the late-running megaproject. All construction works on the city’s metro line No. 1, which connects Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and Suoi Tien Theme Park in District 9, was resumed on Tuesday, with workers actively doing their job in the hope of having luck in the new lunar year. One of the most significant parts of the metro line is the 17.1km metro bridge, or the elevated railway of the project that runs along Hanoi Highway, snaking through District 1, Binh Thanh District, District 2, District 9 and Thu Duc District to connect the Ba Son Shipyard and Suoi Tien terminals. At one section of the metro bridge, dozens of engineers and workers were installing the two lanes of rail during their first working day after Tet.

More funding needed for Southern Key Economic Region Vietnam News 9th Feb 2019
The Southern Key Economic Zone needs special policies to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and improve linkages between localities to ensure sustainable development, experts have said. The Southern Key Economic Region includes HCM City and the provinces of Bình Phước, Tây Ninh, Bình Dương, Đồng Nai, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Long An and Tiền Giang. The region accounts for only 8 per cent of the country’s area but plays a leading role in its economic development as it makes up 60 per cent of the Government’s revenues. The region ranks highly in FDI attraction, accounting for 50 per cent of the capital and 60 per cent of projects of the entire country.

Work on HCM City’s 1st metro route to be hastened Vietnam News 29th Jan 2019
The HCM City Urban Railway Management Board (MAUR) will work with contractors, consulting firms and others to speed up the city’s first metro route between Bến Thành and Suối Tiên, a meeting heard last weekend. “We will try to complete the project in 2020,” Bùi Xuân Cường, head of MAUR, said. A cost overrun, audits and delayed payments to contractors caused the delays, he said. “Certain aspects are beyond the ambit of our authority and require intervention by city leaders to resolve.” The project, which began in 2012, was expected to be finished in 2017 and become operational this year.

PM advises Hưng Yên to develop industrial, urban zones Vietnam News 28th Jan 2019
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc asked the northern province of Hưng Yên to continue creating a better investment environment and developing industrial, service and urban zones during his Tết (Lunar New Year) visit to the province on Saturday. Secretary of the Hưng Yên provincial Party Committee Đỗ Tiến Sỹ reported to the PM the locality’s prominent achievements over the years, including the establishment of 10,000 businesses and the attraction of over 1,800 investment projects. The province has set up big industrial zones, like Hòa Phát and Thăng Long II. Phúc said he hoped the province would continue to make full use of its potential, develop agriculture and services, provide the best environment to attract investment, bring into full play the role of businesses, and rally all available resources for its long-term, stable, and sustainable growth.